SANTA FE, N.M. – Calm winds and controlled burns have helped firefighters gain control of a blaze ravaging the forest where Smokey Bear was found decades ago, fire officials said.
“Things are looking really good. We’re optimistic but still very cautious,” said fire information officer Beth Wilson. She said the fire is about 40 percent contained after it had burned through about 31,500 acres.
The Peppin Fire has been burning through the mountain range in southern New Mexico where a badly singed cub later named Smokey Bear was found clinging to a charred tree over fifty years ago.
Some 640 people have been battling the blaze, and the cost of fighting the fire has been about $3 million so far, Wilson said.
The Peppin Fire, in a forest about 150 miles south of Santa Fe, was started by lightening in mid May.